We all have that sweater at the bottom of our drawer or that set of martini glasses in the back of our cabinet that we received for some holiday or birthday years ago and have never used but somehow never gotten rid of. And as the holiday season approaches and budgets get tighter and tighter, it can be tempting to want to just pass those unwanted but perfectly fine items along to someone else. But is it ever OK to regift?
The Emily Post Institute actually has an answer to whether or not it’s acceptable to transfer an old gift to someone else. The short answer is no, it’s not really fine to regift as it can lead to hurt feelings both for the original gifter and the recipient, but it can be allowed under a very specific set of circumstances.
Etiquette dictates this practice is OK if the item you’re giving away is a specific thing you know the recipient will really want and cherish, and something the original gifter didn’t seem to put much thought into. Of course, the gift should also be never-used and in its original, clean packaging and not personalized or handmade. That’s a very specific Venn diagram not a lot of items will realistically fall into.
It can also be OK to regift something if you’ve been given a duplicate item. If you received the same cookbook or coffee travel mug twice, pass along the second item to an unrelated friend but don’t frame it as a gift; be transparent that you’re giving them something you happen to have two of.
Gifting etiquette isn’t always an easy thing to know and follow, but one big blunder you can easily avoid is the risky regift. When in doubt, just donate your unwanted item to charity or take it to the curb. And once you nail this portion of the season, you’ll easily be able to follow these other holiday etiquette rules.